Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Water garden for Expo Rail, greener parking at L.A. Zoo, scary snowpack worries

Bumpy opening at Angeles National Forest. Reports Pasadena Star-News: “A locked gate and “no hiking” signs at the entrance of Switzer Falls greeted hikers Kevin Cadwallader and Derek Miller on Monday as thousands of acres of forest reopened for the first time since the devastating Station Fire.”

Expo rail line could get an environmentally-friendly water garden. According to LA Streetsblog: “Last week, the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation’s Watershed Protection Division (WPD) unveiled its Westwood-Expo Botanical Water Garden concept. Only a month before, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz had prevailed on the Expo Authority to choose open space, instead of 170 parking spaces, on the 200-foot wide right of way, around the Westwood Light Rail station in the Westwood Gardens neighborhood in West Los Angeles.”

L.A. Zoo gets a new watershed-friendly parking lot. According to L.A. Creek Freak, “The project is a $13.9 million dollar stormwater enhancement with multiple types of best management practices constructed to help reduce runoff of polluted water during storm events.”

Calif.’s cap and trade program remains on hold, but most of AB 32 may go forward, Superior Court judge rules. Reports Climate Watch: “Regulators at the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will have to flesh out their prior assessment of alternatives to cap & trade that could also result in reducing the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.”

Record snowpacks could threaten western states. Reports NY Times: “In California, officials staged three days of flood training last week, running disaster scenarios and practicing the grunt work of filling sandbags and draping and tying down tarp. The state’s aging levee system has long been a source of concern, with fears of large-scale failures that could leave Sacramento, the state capital, vulnerable to a Hurricane Katrina-scale flood.”

Relatedly, LA Times reports California ski resorts had an unusual problem this season — too much snow. “Mountain resorts saw a 12% decline in skiers and snowboarders compared with last season because the ample snowfall too often closed roads or discouraged driving to the slopes under harsh conditions.”

Recent LA Times editorials have focused on environmental issues. One editorial alleges that environmentalists don’t matter in Obama’s 2012 campaign. Today’s editorial argues against plans to allow a trucking school to operate on the former Lopez Canyon landfill.

Missed Big Parade LA over the weekend? See the photos from the two-day urban hike by KPCC’s own Kristen Bedford and Molly Peterson.

Photo: A volunteer for the Angeles National Forest picks up non-native Spanish broom seed pods and plants on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010. (Molly Peterson/KPCC)